What if the parent develops alcoholism after the child is born - should the government step in and remove the child from the home?

Expert Answers

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This is, of course, a matter of opinion.  My own opinion is that it would not be right to remove a child from a home simply because the parent is an alcoholic. 

There are at least two things that we should consider here.  First, we believe in this country that people are innocent unless they have been proven guilty of doing something wrong.  For the most part, we do not believe in punishing people for things that they might potentially do in the future.  In the case of an alcoholic parent, the fact that someone is alcoholic does not mean that they are absolutely certain to cause harm to their child at any point in their child’s life.  Therefore, it would not be just to remove their child from their custody.

Second, we have to consider what our alternatives are.  If we take a child away from its parents, we are most likely going to be placing that child in foster care.  This is not necessarily going to be a better situation for the child than being at home with its own (albeit alcoholic) parent.

For these reasons, it seems wrong to automatically remove a child from its home if its parent is alcoholic.

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